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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  October 26, 2009 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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this sunday, the white house strikes a blow against wall street. >> it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms firms that are struggling, pay themselves huge bonuses even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat. >> banks have record profits, is limiting executive pay the way to prevent another meltdown or
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punishment that could ultimately hurt the economy? what's next. plus, the health care fight. is the democratic push for a government health care plan the, the public option, back on track, or will moderates desert the white house? this morning, a debate between two key senators on the finance committee, democratic senator chuck schumer of new york and republican senator john cornyn of texas. also, perspective on the fight between main street and wall street from cnbc's andrew burnett and andrew ross sorkin of "the new york times," author of the new book about the root of this financial crisis, "too big to fail." then, the president and the left/right political divide. the white house is taking on its critics. >> the white house must stop dithering while america's armed forces are in danger. >> what vice president cheney calls deathering, president obama calls his doll rem responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the
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american public. i think we have all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously. >> afghanistan, health care and the economy and the political test this fall for the obama presidency in virginia and new jersey. with us, jane maher of "the new yorker," msnbc's joe scarborough, former adviser to former president george w. bush and author of the new book, "startup nation" dan see nor and pbs's smiley. finally, more cases across the country of the h1n1 flu virus, as president obama declares the outbreak a national emergency. our "meet the press" minute looks back at lessons learned from the swipe flu threat more than 30 years ago. but first a deadly morning in iraq as two powerful car bombs exploded in downtown baghdad killing at least 132 people, targeting the fragile city government offices. this comes as iraq is preparing
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for elections scheduled for january. officials have warned that this type of violence could increase as insurgent tries making the country appear unstable. joining us now, republican senator john cornyn of texas and democratic senator chuck schumer of new york. welcome both of you back to "meet the press." let me start on this developing story out of iraq, senator cornyn. this comes as u.s. forces are in the middle of withdrawing from that country. is it a wakeup call to you, a question about whether iraq is up to securing its own country? >> a reminder that iraq remains a fragile country and the insurgents are going to try to test the maliki government and iraqi government to see if they have what it takes as they know we are drawing down our troops. i thought thomas frooedman had a good column on that this morning as he said we can't take our eye off iraq as we turn our gaze toward afghanistan. >> and senator schumer that is where the debate is, it is about afghanistan, not iraq. it also shows you how hard it is to do this. we have had general petraeus, a
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good job, soldiers done a good job, spent a lot of time there trillion dollars, of course, over 4,000 lives lost. it is still not all that stable, shows you how hard this will be in afghanistan. >> have we won in iraq? >> i think we have certainly made great progress. i wouldn't declare a victory, say we have won but certainly much better than anyone even hoped for just a few -- >> if the goal has -- if the goal was to stop terrorism that link between iraq and terrorism has long been exposed as false. if the goal is to bring stability it is a 50/50 proposition after all we have done. >> we will get to afghanistan in a few minutes. i want to start with this very controversial issue of executive compensation and get into the decision that the administration made this week. put it up on our screen and summarize it the top seven firms have are got bailout money have been told now by the obama administration, by ken fineberg, the special master for pay, that the top 25 executives will see their pay slashed. now, the reality is, senator
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schumer this may feel good to a lot of people who don't like the bailouts, don't like these companiessome this anything more than punishment? >> i think it s first of all, look, these are companies that had real, real trouble and had to be bailed out by the government. the average american, justifiably says, hey, i work hard, i don't make much of a salary, i did nothing wrong, now my taxpayer dollars are going here. at the very least, these executives in terms of their own salary can tighten up. ken fineberg who is a very smart, down the middle, practical guy says it will not hurt the effectiveness of these companies. >> he doesn't know that. >> nobody knows it but's pretty good judge, when the president chose him, he was not shooting somebody who would just be out there to punish. he was choosing somebody with effective solutions. just this week, david, the fed did a very revolutionary thing, i thought it was an amazing thing they did. we are going to look at the compensation systems for 28 of
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the largest companies in america, not for punishment. the fed is not an agency at a punishes these institutions, but because the pay may have led to undue risks and we have to do this in a careful way, a nonvindictive way but something that has to be seriously examined. >> senator cornyn, if the rules of these actions by ken fineberg and by the obama administration lead to an exodus of the companies to somebody that can stabilize the companies, therefore, help them pay back the bailout money, then why would you do this? >> that is a very real concern. the people being punished by having their compensation capped. >> you think it is just punishment? >> i think it is hard to interpret it as anything other than that i would distinguish, david, between the taxpayers are essentially shareholders in these companies, these companies would not exist but for the largess of the american taxpayer.
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i consider this a different situation, the government tried to cap compensation in the private sector, but there is growing apprehension government intervention, across the -- >> the question i asked, if the goal here is to pay back the t.a.r.p., if you ultimately hurt the company its by forcing foam leave, because as an executive told me this week, the economy is getting better, phones are starting to ring are, people will leave a, if the goal is is to pay back the t.a.r.p., how do you do that if you risk an exodus from the companies because they don't want to stick around with pay cuts? >> i think you have to be careful. the system fineberg implemented is supposed to keep them around, less salary, more stock and stock that vests over a period of time so they have an interest in staying with the company and making it work. >> i think there's probably less here than meets the eye. the companies certainly will find some other alternative means to compensate their executives to keep them there, but i don't think we should for a minute think this substitutes
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for real regulatory reform, which is a debate that congress has not begun in earnest, waiting until after the health care debate is concluded. >> aig is going to pay for bonuses next march, $200 million in bonuses to the same group, not necessarily the same people responsible for the default swap collapse. andrew cuomo, the new york attorney general, said this past march that the names of the feel getting the bonuses should be released publicly. do you think that's appropriate? >> well, i don't have a problem with that. >> they should be shamed? >> it is not shamed. onces you get government money, hundreds of billions of dollars, you are in a different ballpark. you can't play -- i agree with john, i don't think the government should set salaries for companies that are private, i believe the shareholders should have more power and, in fact, i have been pushing something. i think it will be in the reform bill, called the shareholder bill of rights. it is their responsibility. but when the government is giving massive amounts of money and these people would be out on the street, except for the government money, the rules are different. >> let me turn to the health care debate and the issue of the public option.
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here's where the public stands on the idea of a government-run plan that would be alongside private insurance to drive down costs. 61% of americans support the idea of a public option. senator schumer, you are very involved in this. will the final bill on health care reform bill have a public option? >> i believe leader reid is leaning strongly to putting a level playing field, state-opt out public option in the bill. >> explain for a second how that would actually work. >> okay. there are some, many of my colleagues on the democratic side, who would like to see it be a much more government-oriented program. the government sets the rate, a medicare rate or medicare-plus-five, you are forced to take it, et cetera. what i've been proposing is something a little more in the middle. the government would set it up. we need some competition for the insurance companies and many believe this is the only real way to get real competition. then after three months, when they give it money to get going, it would have to play by the same rules as the insurance companies, the same rates, the same reserves, the same requirements. it would have to pay the loan
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back over a period of years and most importantly, and people are worried about this, some anyway, many, it would negotiate rates with the providers, just like an insurance company. but in states where there is only one insurance company or two, of 40 of the 50 states, two insurance companies dominate the market. the only real way, or one of the best real ways to bring costs down, is a new entity competing. the insurance companies industry will not do it on its own. the government would. the one other thing i would say, and this is really important, you are not required to take the government option. it's not a government plan being forced on people, that was the rhetoric in august. it's an option. if you don't like your private insurance, go to the public option. if you like the private insurance, stick with it, but even then, the public option will be forced to be better. >> where are the votes? olympia snowe, are they going to sign up for this?
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>> leader reed, nobody counts the votes better than he does it, is a wizard at it and people don't give him enough credit for it. and i and others have been talking to liberal democrats, moderate democrats, conservative democrats, the liberals, they like it stronger but they are willing to live with a level-playing field opt-out. the more moderate democrats, there are some who actually like it as long as it is a level playing field, they are comfortable with it. there are others who say that i'm not sure i like it, but i won't hold up passage of the bill. i think we are very close to getting the 60 votes we need to move forward, and my guess is that the public option level playing field with the state-opt out will be in the bill, but leader reid will make the decision after talking to people several times. >> that's an important element. you believe the democrats are close to 60 votes in the senate for health care reform? >> correct. correct. >> senator cornyn, can you live with this idea? would you vote for it? >> well, david, the majority
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leader is a good vote counter, but i think he was surprised when republicans rejected $300 billion in additional medicare in the form of the medicare reimbursements for doctors vote that occurred last week. i think the majority leader recognizes he has big problems keeping democrats together much less attracting republicans to vote for it. and the reason is we have maxed out our credit card as a government. we are at a $12 trillion debt limit for the second time in the obama administration. the democrats are going to ask congress to vote to increase the debt limit. >> who do you blame for that, by the way? >> yeah, good question. >> i think $1.1 trillion in stimulus spending, 43 cents out of every dollar being spent, being borrowed money today, with a health care proposal which has phony assumptions and that will never occur, like $500 billion in medicare cuts, which actually won't solve the problem of reducing premiums, but will rather, increase premiums for people currently with insurance and will impose a tax on middle-class taxpayers. i mean, this is a bad formula.
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we could, i think, create good competition if you allowed people to purchase insurance policies in other states rather than the public option, which is a trojan horse for a single-payer system. >> a quick response and i want to move on. >> let's talk reality here. we are trying, in our health care bill, to have it paid for so it doesn't raise the deficit a nickel. when they had the big medicare increase, $400 billion, they didn't even try to pay for it. we are trying to pay. we have said we will pay for the war in afghanistan. $1 trillion, war in iraq, they didn't pay a nickel for it. the debt in january when george bush left, voted for, lock, stock and barrel, with all the republicans was much greater. now barack obama and we democrats, this is counterintuitive but true, are really trying to get a handle on balancing the budget and we are making real efforts to do it, that's why health care is more limited than people would want it to be. and they say, well, it is not good enough. well, join us and help us, but you sure didn't try to make it
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all good when you were in power. >> david, i hope the democrats will join with us to pass real entitlement reform and to deal with the growing deficits. senator conrad, senator gregg have a proposal referenced by ten moderate democrats who wrote a letter to harry reid this last week saying, don't count on us as an automatic vote for raising the debt ceiling unless you deal with the deficits. >> a few minutes left. as the president decides about his strategy, the former vice president, dick cheney, was outspoken this week. this is what he said. >> having announced his afghanistan strategy in march, president obama now seems afraid to make a decision and unable to provide his commander on the ground with the troops he needs to complete the mission. the white house must stop dithering while america's armed forces are in danger. >> senator schumer, dithering? >> well, you know, afghanistan,
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i agree with joe biden. he said when we hear dick cheney, we remember seven years of neglect of afghanistan that once again now, president obama is going to have to deal with. he is dealing with it in a thoughtful, careful way. he is listening to everybody. he will not be rushed to judgment. i'm wrestling with it myself and boy, it is difficult. there's no good answer. the but for dick cheney, after seven years focusing on iraq, the wrong place, instead of afghanistan, to say it is a few months in the administration, that's not fair or right. >> americans are fighting and dieing in afghanistan today as they have for the last seven years. i don't understand for a president who said this is a war of necessity to now question the recommendation of his lead commander, general mcchrystal, on resourcing the war in order to be successful. >> did president bush and vice president cheney provide enough troops to win in afghanistan? >> i think we've learned that we need a change of strategy as -- >> it is a simple question, senator. did they provide enough troops
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to win in afghanistan? >> obviously, we haven't won in afghanistan yet, and it may be different than iraq. >> did bush/cheney provide the troops to win? >> well, we haven't won. >> right. well -- >> to be consistent on this, if you say that this president should commit more troops, can't you render an opinion about whether the previous administration that started the war provided the resources to win it? >> hey, david, we all know the facts here. >> if i could answer the question. my problem with your question is, david, you are assuming just additional troops will achieve a victory. it will not. what we need is a change of strategy. we need a counterinsurgency strategy, such as general petraeus and general odierno executed in iraq. if we do that, i think our chances of success are good. >> just quickly, one, they were so busy with iraq, they didn't pay attention to afghanistan. and if the right strategy is we need a new strategy, where was the strategy for seven years?
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i don't want to point fingers or blame, our soldiers are out in the fields, but it is a little bit gee whiz, here obama is trying. president obama is trying to come up with a strategy, listening to everybody. and immediately, the republicans are pounding and saying, do this, do this, do this, where for seven years, they didn't do it. >> before we go, senator cornyn, you are running the elections for the senate for congressman next year. as you look at the races, the governors' races in new jersey and virginia where the democrats are in considerable trouble, what will it say about the obama presidency, these results from these elections? >> well, i think the virginia's governor's race particularly is going to be referendum on the policy that is the american people have seen coming out of washington these days. while the president remains personally popular, his policies are not. and the more people learn about them, the more they learn about the growing debt and indeed the vote it will have on increasing the debt scene will bring that into focus. i think we have seen them reject them and i think that's what will happen in virginia. i think it is a cautionary tale to democrats in 2010. >> are you worried about 2010?
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>> well, that i think in 2010, what's helping us is the republican party doesn't seem to have any platform at all. people realize that we are grappling with the major issues that have to be grappled with, whether it is health care or afghanistan. when health care passes, it will improve, i think we are going to do well in 2010. >> the race for the incumbent is bad? >> well, i think you'll see in 2010, we'll do pretty well, aided and abetted by no alternative, but also by the fact these are big problems we are getting our arms around. >> senators, thank you both very much. the debate will continue. i want to turn to the other side of the table now to get additional perspective on the economy and the controversial debate over executive pay. and joining us now is cnbc's erin burnett and andrew ross sorkin of "the new york times." welcome to both of you. let's pick up on this idea of what the administration has done. curb the salaries, cut the
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salaries at these firms that got most of the bailout money. erin burnett, what will this actually accomplished? >> it is a good question, and i know with the senators you are talking about whether it is punishment or not. from what i have heard both from executives at the banks affected and from the other banks, the banks that extensively are going to start people fleeing to work for because they can be paid more is that it is much more of a headline than it is anything else. not to stay it lacks teeth completely, but basically what you are going to see is people paid more in stock than they were in cash. and that's a very important thing. people will have stock paying now five years or more, so their overall value of compensation could actually be higher than it was before. and that's one thing that those banks are going to do. it is very important to get that distinguish between cash and stock, which i think is a big part of what they are going to do. >> andrew? >> it is similar bombing, by beyond having true teeth, i'm not sure it does. the real conundrum is we are now shareholders of the companies. and it is very likely that when you talk about the 25 top people
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at these firms that they are likely to walk across the street to goldman sachs or jp morgan, who also received money and paid it back, and take that job because they will be paid a much higher bonus. one of the things mr. schumer said is this issue that these banks now can spend more -- these banks can spend more money. and that's going to be a big issue as well. >> you wrote in your book "too big to fail" which is now out about the financial crisis, the root causes. you write this, "the handful of proposals that have been introduced to put the financial system back in its right place and rein in risk have seemed tepid and half-hearted at best. relieved that the worst is supposedly behind us, the obama administration seems to have moved on to other positions. so slashing executive comp at these seven firms, does it have any impact on the rest of wall street and how it operates? >> i'm not sure it does. and wall street has not changed.
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that's the ethos of the issue. that will have to come from inside wall street. it will have to come on the regulatory side. and the real question is as the economy gets healthier, as things stabilize, will there be a motive to actually really get regulatory reform with teeth. >> there's all the talk about how the fed will start to regulate pay at other firms by managing risk and reward. how do you do that when all of this is a risk business? that's how money is made ultimately at investment banks that are now merged with the commercial banks? >> well, it is virtually impossible. when you look at the mandate of the fed, they already have that power. when compensation threatens the safeness and soundness of an institution they regulate, they already, prior to this, had the ability to regulate the pay. in terms of what is changing, the answer would be frankly very little. >> there's a fix to this and i think it is the long-term fix
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which is capital requirements, which means that these banks, and it actually would help across the board -- >> explain what that is. >> what that means is if the banks have to have more money in their coffers for a rainy day fund, if they can put more money, if we force them to put more money, all the profits at the banks giving out as bonuses, that money has to go back into the bank with less risk in the system and that ultimately should be the goal. >> is it a big problem here that americans love to hate aig, they love to hate b of a, but they are wards of the state and they are wards of the state because the government wants to make them healthy enough, profitable enough. they want aig to go gangbusters so they can pay back the tax payer. yet we are at the disconnect with nobody helping them, but we want them to be healthier. >> it is very tough. that's why i think the compensation discussion is an important one because it sound like it has teeth, but fundamentally you can still pay these people a lot of money, particularly in stocks. that's where they are walking the fine line of quote, unquote, not punish them.
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>> we'll talk about the debt in a minute, but let me first talk about unemployment. one of the top economic advisers said their projections were off. unemployment is more difficult, it will get above 10% by the middle of next year. the job growth would remain anemic through the end of 2010. how severe is this? >> i think it's a real problem. and i think the great disconnect americans are having now is you are hearing about profits, you are hearing about the economy coming back, and yet your neighbor doesn't have a job. and by the way, that's going to come into this whole compensation argument for a very long time. i think we are going to be dealing with this for a very long time. and the other issue is the economy looks like it is getting better, but at some point, does it turn the opposite way in that if you don't have jobs coming back, where is the consumer in all of this? >> right. let's look, erin, if we can put up the debt figures here across the obama presidency. this is the total debt. on inauguration date, it was $10.6 trillion, now it is $11.9 trillion, up 12%. we also have the deficit figures where that has gone up dramatically since the president came into office.
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$1.2 trillion, now up to at $1.4 trillion. what should be the priority, the debt or job creation? >> well, there you go. to be honest, nobody knows the exact answer to that question, but i think one thing is for sure. we are going to be borrowing a lot more money before we fix this problem. there's no way around that. they are going to be extending unemployment benefits, the home buyer tax credit, we are going to be borrowing more money. according to the administration, we are going to borrowing more money than we take in all the way through the year 2019. we are going to have a major issue there. i don't think there's any way around that. no massive new stimulus, but you should call things like home buyer tax credit, unemployment benefit stimulus, and we'll borrow money to do that. >> erin burnett, andrew ross sorkin, thank you very much. coming up next, can president obama quiet his critics and conquer his many political challenges. critics and conquer his many political challenges. the political roundtable weighs we know why we're here. to design the future of flight, inside and out.
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we are back. joining now by tavis smiley, joe scarborough, dan senor and jane mayer. welcome to all of you. we got started before we came on the air. there's so much to get to. let me start with a really hot topic this week. something you talked about, joe, and a lot of people were talking about, which is the president taking on his critics now in a very aggressive way, whether it is on policy, whether it is ideology, arranging from the chamber of chers commerce to fox news. this is how the who lit ko reported it on wednesday.
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>> i want to single out fox news in this instance in terms of the president trying and the white house trying to effectively marginalize that organization. anita dunn appeared on cnn last week and said the following. joe scarborough, why is the
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white house doing this and is it working for them? >> well, i think it is working with them with their base. and right now with them moving toward the middle on public options and triggers, maybe that's their strategy. that's part one of their strategy, but part two, the part of the strategy that didn't work is getting the media to back off of the fox news stories. that is the key. that's what has concerned them, whether it is a.c.o.r.n. or van jones, the mainstream has followed fox news into some of these controversies and they want that to stop. it is not change, but as james carvel said at the speech i was at with them, washington always win. in the end, you have to play hardball. that's what they are doing. >> tavis smim lee, you wrote a book about accountability. is the president living up to rising above the frey in washington, which is what president obama agreed to as well. >> we can agree on civility here in washington, number one. the fox news thing is a
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distraction. to give them this much attention, this much focus, they are one network that has nothing to do with your agenda, i think it is a distraction. number two. your third point about accountability, i think president obama's instincts are good, but the only way he'll become a great president is if he gets pushed into being a great president by being held accountability. great presidents are nod meat, they are not born, they are not born, they are made. they are made when we push them into being accountability. there's noling kon without frederick douglas. there's no lbj without dr. king. great presidents have to be pushed into their greatness. we the american people hold him accountable. he becomes a great president. >> wait a minute. jane mayer, in ug, the heat of the health care debate and the bhilt house is getting pummeled. guys, you have to answer all this. they are answering it and taking on air their critics in an aggressive way. is it the right thing to do? >> the thing that it is is the traditional thing to do. so much is being made of this as
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if it is some kind of new playbook. basically, if you go there presidential history, fdr, nixon, and certainly bush and cheney, they have had their fights with the press. they don't like the coverage they get and try to marginalize the stories they don't like and say they are not part of the mainstream. i don't see this as different. i covered reagan and had larry speaks saying to me, you are out of business when i wrote some story for the wall street journal they didn't like. >> here's the thing. spirot agnew, he didn't say they were going to be post partisan. i think that's why it is so surprising coming from this white house. >> you can't be began ghandi if you are going to be tarred every day. >> unless you promise to be ghandi, which nixon never promised. >> washington requires a fight on both sides. >> i would just say i remember when obama won, a big question at fox news and conservative talk radio is they had spent so
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many year, many would argue, cheerlead for the bush administration. suddenly, bush was gone and so much of their audience would be affected from the lack of access that the new conservative media would have with the new administration. now, having not seen roger's playbook, i would bet one of the ideal situations is just as president obama's popularity is turning, if we can get obama to attack us, if we can get the obama white house to take us on directly, that can turn things dramatically. >> it is working. >> their ratings are going through the roof in part because the white house keeps focusing too much attention on them. >> here's the fascinating thing. rush limbaugh, attacked by the out what white house in january, i know it because we look at his february, march, april ratings, exploit. fox news right now, you can tell by looking at the ratings starting at 5:00 a.m., america is wake pg up in the morning -- click, they turn on fox news because they have been engaged. they are giving them a bigger mega phone. it is stunning. >> if white house had probably expected it to ramp up the
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conservative base. you said it would be good for the liberal base. i don't think what they anticipated the degree to which the mainstream media is getting uncomfortable with the attacks on fox. >> it is a big push back. >> let me bring in some actual policy and the public option is apparently -- you heard senator schumer say, joe, and this is news that leader reid is close to getting 06 votes in the senate for health care reform that would include the public option. what brought it ck? >> headlines on tuesday said public option is dead. headlines on wednesday, the public option is alive. and dan bolts, "the washington post," public option is dead. harry reid has 57 votes. he has 57 votes for the state opt out. the president at the white house right now wants to go with the trigger. huffington post this morning had an article and they've got some great insights on other areas about how liberals are angry
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because the obama white house is moving toward the trigger. what does a trigger do? a trigger saying we are not going to have a public option unless health care insurance companies don't step forward. that gives blue dogs cover to run in 2010. wait a second, there's no government takeover here. in fact, nothing happens if insurance companies are responsible, that's what barack obama wants, that's what the white house wants. >> let me say, here's the cover of "newsweek" that gets to the liberal commit ans about the white house. the cover says "yes he can but he sure hasn't yet." a year in obama's presidency, we know that we deceived ourselves.
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>> tavis? >> i think we voted for this president because we believed in his character. the question now is does he have courage? does he have conviction and the does he have commitment? back to joe's comment, in the meeting with reid at the white house, the president didn't take a position in the meeting with the senators on the public option. the only way this thing is going to succeed is if the president leads on this issue. hold on. he campaigned -- he campaigned on this issue, and the only way it is going to get done is if he gets out and fights for it and not leaves it to the senate. >> he doesn't want to fight for it, dan, because what he wants is 60. he wants 60 votes. >> that's the other part. i'm sorry, she is saying, casically, the way the constitution is written, they need 60 votes. it is not as if obama created --
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>> he is going to marge in aize olympia snowe and others. >> all this, by the way, when he is about to alienate his base with the decision on afghanistan that will result in an increase in troops. the other point is the notion to break down on the consensus starting with health care is absurd. president obama had the opportunity with the stimulus vote to take some republican ideas, and he didn't have to take all of them, some republican ideas and he would have gotten some republican votes and republicans would have owned the stimulus such as the democrats and it would impact the current debate over health care, and he chose to go with the straight-line party vote and that inhibited every step of the way. >> he wants 60 votes, but 60 votes for what? what kind of bill are we going to get here? a bill without a public option, what does it mean? >>ing? to call reform. >> something? what is that? >> i just wonder, is it really all the white house's fault or do you think some of the responsibility rests on congress here. >> really quickly, just the headline here from everybody i have talked to in that meeting,
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actually, i know what senator schumer said, but the president is letting it quietly be known we want the trigger. we want the trigger because that provides cover for the blue dogs, that also gives us change of insurance. that is where we are going and harry reid will not get 60 votes with an opt out. he will with a trigger. >> i want to get to afghanistan and talk about politics before we run out of time. dan senor, the debate this week between dick cheney and the white house. we showed earlier on former vice president's criticism that the president is dithering on strategy. robert gibbs, the press secretary fought back about taking on his enemies this week. this is what he said. >> well, i think it is a curious comment given -- i think it is pretty safe to say that the vice president was for seven years not focused on afghanistan. what vice president cheney calls dithering president obama calls
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his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the american public. i think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously. >> it's on the stable to discuss. >> i would say, first of all, i think you need to separate, i mean, this administration is a little too obsessed with vice president cheney. every time he gives a speech they hold press conferences to respond. look, you need to separate vice president cheney from the criticisms. what is the substantive criticism? this criticism by many people is that in march of this year the president announced a new afghan strategy. which included firing david mckun nan and replacing him wall general mccrystal. he wanted a general committed to resurgeoncy. in august of in year, the 17th, he gave the speech before the vfw and said this is a war of necessity. talk to anyone in the administration back then, they knew then when obama said that
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the afghan electorate would be corrupt. now here we are, i don't want to use dithering, but now there are all the big questions. by the way, i would say this, the nato defense ministers just endorsed the mckris stall strategy. >> of course they have. the germans won't go out and fight at night. of course they want our people to go out and die. send more u.s. troops to die so we don't have to. >> prime minister gordon brown just announced the troop increase. gordon brown, this war is unpopular in the u.k., he announced more troops. it is understandable to say when our allies are supporting us and stepping up -- >> hold on. hold on one second. i want to inject something into the debate here which is how to defight the taliban and al qaeda? jane mayer, you did a procook vat piece in "the new yorker" this week. a key strategy was using the unmanned aircraft to go out and shoot the bad guys and kill them. you write this.
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>> and yet, vice president biden wants more reliance on exactly this program. >> right. the drones have been more and more seen as a panasea. there was one yesterday that killed 17 to 20 people, i think, in pakistan. it is a secret war, basically. it is interesting because it is taking place in pakistan where we are not at war. it is not like the military in afghanistan and iraq, which are using drones. that's part of -- >> the fundament question you
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raise by this kind of journalism is what if your mind? >> the question for me is whether or not this is an american way to fight terrorism. i mean, before 9/11 this country was very much against targeted killing like this and we condemned his treal israel for doing it. and now we are very much in favor of it. and it is having all kinds of unintended consequences according to critics. it is taking out the questions whether or not it is effective in the long term. it could be creating backlash because it is killing innocent people along the way. >> either by predator drone or individual target strikes, killing is killing and somebody ought to say that, number one. number two, it will be difficult for this president with the peace prize to be a war president engaged in signing off on this kind of drone killing with the peace prize. and thirdly, ultimately to jane's point, this is the kind of nonsense that turns future generations or people against our country. >> i think we all agree around this table that killing is not killing because if you take out,
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like this as is nation program that you bring up that was so kochbsive to a lot of democrats, but for predators and differences if you have an assassination program and target one person and shoot them dead, we don't kill, as jane's piece showed, 5-year-old girls, mothers, fathers, these predator strikes and everybody from joe biden thinks it is clean and sanitary just like bombing in vietnam. it is not. you kill more people and create more terrorists in the future. >> if you look in afghanistan where we are having success in certain key areas in a key strategic valley. where there's progress is where we have 1,000 marines there to work with the afghanis so that when the taliban returns they come to our guys and say we have boot on the ground to work with them. not by blowing up their villages and killing all their women. >> it seems like nation building is the one thing everybody thinks is required in
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afghanistan. i hate to say it because it is not necessarily what soldiers do the best. >> i have a minute left here. i want to talk politics here. joe scarborough, there seems to be within the republican party a test going on. you had sarah palin endorsing the conservative independent candidate in new york for the congressional seat in the 23rd district. is this the run to see who can be the most conservative as a means of retaking power in 2010? >> it depends. how could any republican, strike that, how could any conservative be against the person that the republican establishment in d.c. is for if they are conservatives. this woman, the republican candidate, is for card shack. she was for the obama stimulus package. she has voted for taxes. she is one of david paterson's best allies. why would a conservative support the republican -- this is one more example of how the republican party in d.c. has self-disconnected from conservatives. >> you are seeing a revolt all
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over the place. in joe's state, florida, charlie crist for the u.s. senator, they rallied behind charlie crist to deliver the general election. suddenly, the polls are closing, all the republican primary conservative support is getting behind mark arubio, the start-up candidate. >> the republicans need their own base being fractured, is it? >> it is fantastic. >> when i ran in 1994, the republican party of the state national and local level tried to run against me, a moderate republican, and i'm not talking abortion or gay marriage, i'm talking taxes and spending small government, that's great to reinvasion rate the base. >> the president is out there for two big races this week. we'll leave it. there we'll continue our discussion with andrew ross sorkin and dan senor about their new books in the "meet the press" take two website up this afternoon. also, you can read intercepts of
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we are back with our "meet the press minute." late friday night president obama declared the h1n1 flu outbreak a national emergency. after more than 1,000 deathst in
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the country from an outbreak that sickened millions and hospitalized more than 20,000 americans, the president is now giving his health secretary extraordinary powers to extend federal guide lines at hospitals and speed up access to treatment. just over 30 years ago there was another spine flu outbreak in the country. then he called the goth's response back then a disaster after a handful of soldiers at fort knox fell il with the decide. they called for a mass immunization concerned the virus would spread to kill millions. within two months 40 million americans received immunization shotses, but the pandemic came. rather, the vaccine caused a syndrome. appearing on "meet the press" in march of 1977, the new secretary of health and education and welfare, joseph calavano jr. spoke about the failure of the program and the substance subsequent distrust of any
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vaccination effort. >> mr. secretary, the swine flu mass inmuniization program was a disaster from start to finish and i have a two-part question. first of all, to find out whether your agency given this same information as we given the agency a year ago, would have embarked on such a program. secondly, what are you going to do now that the american people have really become frightened by mass immunization programs and what are you going to do if we have a similar vaccine in the future necessarily given to people? >> missimpson, i am not prepared to say what i had done had i been in the government a year ago. it is not clear to me in what way is different decisions would have been made. i intend to look at that thoroughly and carefully because that kind of public health decision is one of the most difficult the secretary has to make. the great damage the swine flu program has done aside from the human tragedy of the individuals paralyzed and killed has been
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the impact on immunization programs, particularly for children. there are 16 million children in this country under the age of 14 who have not been immunized against polio and a large part of that is attributable to the people's fear about immunization programs. we have to restore confidence. the first step we have taken has been to open up the entire process for selecting the vax signs for next year. we have done that and we haven't made the selections yet, but every fact that's relevant to that will be available to the public. we also intend to have a substantial stepped up program of education for children and parents in the immunization area and to try to get the children of this nation immunized. >> the cdc says the current swine flu vaccine has been flurry tested and is safe. no related illnesses have been reported, although there have been production delays. as many as 120 million doses
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would be available by mid-october, but as of wednesday 11 million had been shipped. we'll be right back. (announcer) the world is changing. and how we use energy today, cannot be how we'll use it tomorrow. there is no one solution. it's not simply more oil, more renewables, or being more efficient. it's all of it. our way of life depends on developing all forms of energy. and to use less of it. it's time to put our differences aside. will you be part of the solution? chevron. human energy. because with national, i roll past the counter... and choose any car in the aisle. choosing your own car? now that's a good call. go national. go like a pro.
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timely here, as personally disturbing this is to watch, here's a baseball highlight from this week that broke my heart. i was there in person to see jimmy rollins of the phillies do that to my dodgers. so as much as this pains me to say, i do want to congratulate the phillies and their

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